Our daughter is saving to go on a class trip next year and, since she’s not old enough to hold down an actual job, I headed to the library for some fund-raising/money-making type books for students to give her some ideas. While I was browsing, a few other books caught my eye related to building a wealth and money mentality. Being part of a financial ministry, my curiosity was piqued so I picked those up, too.
One of the books I started to skim over seemed a little over-the-top for my taste at first, but as I read on, something jumped out at me that made me think. One of the questions posed was, “Do you fear being rich?” The idea was that maybe we are sabotaging opportunities for wealth because we are afraid of it. At first I thought, “Why would anyone be afraid of being wealthy?” I started making a mental list of all the wonderful things wealth offers—from simple freedoms like having the house paid off, to being able to help a friend or relative in a bind, to taking a fun vacation. But, I realized as I read on that I also have negative perceptions about wealth. I fear labels such as “snob” or “fake,” “flashy” or “out-of-touch.” I also had to wonder why I felt like it was OK for others to have wealth, but it wasn’t “for us.”
It was then that I realized that maybe we are a little afraid of becoming rich because of the negative connotations we have attached to money. I think we try to be very conscientious about not putting money before God, but maybe what we truly fear is that, by becoming wealthy, we might actually be putting more importance on acquiring material security rather than living our lives for God.
Compass Catholic Ministries is committed to helping individuals and couples obtain financial freedom through a step-by-step process, but the heart of that mission is focused on God and helping us to remember (or learning for the first time) that all of our blessings are from God. Often times, the reason we get into financial trouble in the first place is because we put money before God by putting material desires ahead of concrete needs such as providing food, shelter and clothing for ourselves and our family. Even when providing for our needs, we need to keep ourselves in check because, while we do need food, that may not come in the form of a steak dinner. We need shelter, but an affordable dwelling may mean that children have to bunk together. In other words, within the confines of our needs, we make adjustments, based on our finances, that allow us the ability to be financially free rather than a slave to debt.
Are we afraid of wealth? Maybe not as much as we are afraid of losing sight of what is really important. But, God created us for great things including using our talents to build his kingdom on Earth. By following the Compass Money Map and removing the shackles of debt, we will be free to do the Lord’s work.
“If, then, you have not been faithful in handling worldly wealth, how can you be trusted with true wealth?” ~Luke 16:11